6 Things to Consider When Choosing a Cleaning Company for Your House Cleaning and Commercial Cleaning Services in Austin
Why SERVPRO of East Central Austin Is a Better Choice as Your Austin Cleaning Company
SERVPRO vs. Traditional Cleaning Services vs. an Austin Maid Service - What's the Best Choice?
Many people don't realize that beyond the damage restoration services we provide, our SERVPRO team can also perform many other duties for your Austin home or business, and that includes house cleaning services. Our cleaning services go well beyond what an Austin maid service or other Austin cleaning companies can offer.
If your home or business has suffered Austin water damage, a flood, and/or a fire, it's likely you're already aware that you would be better off with a team of professionals behind you, like our SERVPRO company, handling all your water removal, cleanup & water restoration needs. But what about those regular household or office cleanings? Why is SERVPRO a better choice than an Austin maid service and other cleaning services Austin?
The answer is simple. We provide a much deeper, more thorough clean than a traditional cleaning service. Our SERVPRO team uses state-of-the-art equipment, cleaners and high powered vacuums to give your home and/or office the most intensive cleaning it can have. We're fully insured, and can handle a variety of cleaning services, including carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning, cleaning your drapes & blinds, ceiling, floor and wall cleaning, odor removal and much more. Other home cleaning services do just enough to mask the issue. Our SERVPRO team gets to the root of stains, dirts and smells to make sure your home or office is as clean as can be. And you know the SERVPRO name is one you can trust.
Depending on your budget, you may still be tempted to contact an Austin maid service or other residential or commercial cleaning services Austin to clean your home or business. But there are other reasons why an Austin maid service may not be the best choice. Here are five additional reasons why our cleaning service can be a better choice than a traditional Austin cleaning company or Austin TX maid service for your residential and commercial cleaning needs.
1) Ensure that the Company You're Choosing to Hire for Cleaning Services Is Trustworthy and Has Insurance
Regardless of an Austin cleaning service or Austin Maid Service’s online reputation, you still should try and do a little further digging into their company. One thing you'll want to do is make sure that they’re bonded before any work begins. This type of insurance will protect your home in the event that damage or a theft occurs, and replace your property if a theft does happen. If they’re not bonded, then you may run the risk of having something taken from your home or business.
Always check everyone’s references before they do work on your property. Online reviews are great, but it's likely you'll be able to get further information talking to a previous/current customer. If the company came recommended by a friend or relative, speak to them directly about their experiences.
2) Don't Attempt to look for Cleaning Companies or Maid Services on Internet Job Boards
If you're in the market for an Austin Maid Service or cleaning services company, avoid searching or posting for one on places like Craigslist. Many times these postings and responses can be from scam artists, who don't work for reputable businesses, and are posing as cleaners, when actually their aim is to rob you.
Certainly there are some honest individuals not affiliated with Austin Maid Services who clean houses and use sites like Craigslist to promote their services, but it's a risky endeavor. If you do go this route, be very thorough in checking into their background, reputation and be sure to ask to speak to at least 3-5 other customers to get references.
Independent cleaning services can be great, but remember, if there’s no one to supervise or be accountable, then you also may not be able to file a claim if your property is damaged or something is stolen.
3) What is ‘Clean’? Make Sure You & the Cleaning Company You're Working With Have Similar Ideas of 'Clean'
One person’s idea of clean may not mesh with yours. This can cause conflicts with a cleaning company or Austin Maid Service, especially if they have a different approach to cleaning. Some Austin Maid Services may just do a quick surface clean to make your home or business look presentable, but the truth is when doing any type of cleaning, a deep cleaning is what you need to get rid of mold, bacteria, and prevent these things from returning.
A deep cleaning, like the type our SERVPRO company provides involves deep scrubbing and polishing of surfaces, things that a surface clean just can’t conquer. If you have to use an Austin Maid Service or traditional cleaning service, check to see how thorough they are in their cleaning procedures. If they don’t perform a thorough job, then unfortunately, utilizing their services could just be a waste of your money.
4) The Importance of Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
Something else that should be taken into account with whatever type of cleaning service you're working with is what types of products they actually use. Some products contain chemicals that are extremely hazardous, not only to you, but also to children and pets, so it’s best to use eco-friendly products instead of ones that may cause harm. If a cleaning company or Austin Maid Service is promoting that they use ‘green’ or ‘eco-green’ cleaners or products, ask them for the names of the types of cleaning products they use and ingredients. Occasionally companies that promote their products as eco-friendly aren’t really using ‘green’ products, but rather, they're using harmful products that are diluted with water to come off as less harmful.
5) Different Cleaning Pace and Insurance Issues
Problems can arise if you’re using a cleaning service or Austin Maid service with a limited staff. If you need to have your home or business cleaned right away, and the service is short staffed, then it may take longer than you expect. Many people like a quick clean, but sometimes this just isn’t the case. If you’re dealing with a service where only one employee is available for the job, and you have a large house, it's going to take much longer for your house to be cleaned.
6) Reliability in an Austin Cleaning Service Is Key
We all lead busy lives, and when we hire a company to do our house cleaning or office cleaning, we need to make sure they're reliable and on time. It goes without saying that you should always check out a company's online reputation, but posing the reliability question to any references you receive is important as well.
If an Austin cleaning service or Maid Service agrees to be at your home at a specific time and then is four hours late, that’s an issue. Also, keep in mind, you could run into overcharging for services that haven’t been rendered, especially if there’s an agreed upon price before hand. This happens all too frequently, with additional hidden charges, extra fees for work in the invoice that hasn’t been done.
How SERVPRO Can Help With Your Cleaning Services
Although there are many good cleaning services Austin, and Austin Maid Services out there, many of them just can't provide the level of cleaning that our SERVPRO team can. Our scope of services covers both residential household cleaning and commercial cleaning throughout Austin TX. If you're in need of a deep, thorough proper cleaning, try our SERVPRO company on for size. You won't be disappointed.
10 Tips for Keeping Your Home Safe While on Vacation
Keeping Your Home Safe from Burglars and Other Damage While Traveling
Is Your Austin Home Safe While You're Away?
With the holidays approaching, everyone's gearing up for their travel plans. If you're planning a vacation anytime soon, there are certain precautions you should take to protect your home from burglars and other damage that can greatly hamper home safety. Though you may live in a safe Austin neighborhood, even a minor mistake can cause a great amount of heartbreak when you return home. It’s always good to make a list of preventive measures to ensure that your home's protected while you’re away.
How to Prevent Property Break-Ins and Other Home Damage from Occurring While You're on Vacation
1) Keep Everything Locked
Lock your doors and windows. You may think this one's a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised how often homeowners forget to lock a window or two, prior to leaving on vacation. Before you leave, do one last round of checks to ensure all locks are working properly. If you don’t have a full-time house sitter, but have a friend or neighbor who is keeping an eye on your house, make sure you provide them with an extra set of keys in the event there's an emergency. Property break-ins are a significant cause for concern in the Austin TX area, so don't take this too lightly.
2) Keep Your Plans to Yourself
If you’re all set to travel, you should never advertise your plans on social media or discuss it in public. If you post any explicit details about your travel plans, such as when you’re leaving, how long you’ll be gone for, there is a slight chance that someone might pick up on that info. If you need to tell someone, then make sure it’s only friends and family in a non-public forum, or someone that you’ve asked to take your mail, or feed your pets. Unfortunately, there are individuals out there trying to scam your personal information, so if they find out that you’re gone, your home might become a potential target for burglary.
3) Disconnect Your Electronics
Our appliances don’t really serve any purpose if we’re not using them for an extended period of time. Coffee pots, televisions, computers, toasters and anything else that doesn’t have to be plugged in while you’re gone, should be unplugged. This will help to cut down on your electric bill and keep you from wasting excess electricity. And it will also help to prevent against electrical fires while you’re gone. The last thing you want is to get a call on your vacation and find out your house has been the victim of fire damage.
Another safety precaution is unplugging your garage door when you leave. Believe it or not, when eyeing your home, criminals can use universal remotes to open up your garage door and break into your house. So, unplug the door and add that extra barrier for home safety.
It can be fairly typical when flying that you might leave your car at the airport. If you park your car at the airport long-term, you should never leave a cell phone or GPS in your car. If someone breaks into your car, they can use these technologies to decipher your route to your house.
4) Hiring a House-or Pet-Sitter
If you have pets, and don't want to place them in a kennel, consider hiring a house sitter, pet sitter or a friend or relative to stay at your Austin home or to visit the house daily. This is also a great way to keep your home looking lived in and occupied while you're away. There are many reputable pet sitting services where professionals can take of your furry friends, but if you’re worried about dealing with strangers, then seek out friends or relatives, who would be willing to take care of your animals while you're gone.
5) Some Additional Security Features
Other precautions you can take to keep your Austin TX home safe include installing a home security system (these can vary in price), as well as additional lighting, such as exterior motion lights that go on when someone walks by. While motion lights are pretty commonplace these days, they can still work as a deterrent.
Also, when it comes to keys, never keep a copy of your keys hidden outside. There are plenty of common hiding spaces (like under a flower pot) that burglars know like the back of their hand, so avoid making those types of mistakes. As mentioned earlier, if you have to give your keys to someone, give them to a neighbor, friend or relative, who is watching your place while you’re away. Make sure only that person has them and gives them back to you when you return.
6) Stop Your Mail and Have a Friend Check on Your House
If you’re planning a long vacation, it’s advisable to have the post office hold your mail until you return. The post office offers this as a free service and can hold your mail for up to 30 days. This will stop mail, including bills and paychecks from building up in your mailbox. A full mailbox is one of the telltale signs a burglar will look for, when trying to gauge if anyone is staying in the home.
If you get a daily newspaper, you can also have delivery put on hold as a home safety measure. Sometimes we have a tendency to forget that, but it can easily be resolved with a call to your local paper. A pile of papers on your front lawn is another sure sign that you’re away, and it too can make you a target for burglars.
With the mail and papers put on hold, there are still some potential problems that can show that you aren’t at home. Fliers, menus from take out restaurants and those doorknob advertisements, if ignored, can cause problems. If you can’t find someone to house sit for you, see if one of your neighbors can remove them and also keep an eye on the house and make sure that everything is okay.
7) Reduce Your AC and Heat
If you don’t have pets, and you're traveling during some of Austin's warmer months, then it’s wise to turn off your air conditioning while you’re away. Of course it gets incredibly hot in Austin, but there’s no need to keep it running while you're gone, unless you have pets. In most cases, if you have one or two pets, you can set your thermostat to a comfortable temperature such as 78°F.
In the wintertime, it can get cold in Austin, so you can set your thermostat to 55°F to keep your pipes from freezing. Remember, if your pipes freeze, you could end up having to fix leaks from cracked pipes and significant water damage Austin.
By altering the temperature range on your thermostat and turning the AC off while you’re away, you can save up to 3% on your electric bill. And as your HVAC unit can have water damage issues periodically, you'll want to avoid the potential for any water damage from your HVAC unit while your away. If you do run into these issues, you could end up needing water damage restoration Austin.
And remember, water damage can lead to other problems, like mold in your Austin TX property, so be sure to take all preventative measures that you can. If you end up with mold, you'll need a mold inspection Austin done, and possibly mold remediation Austin as well.
8) Give Your Property the Lived In Look
If you have a daily routine, such as waking up and going to sleep at a certain time, you should replicate that as much as possible, while you’re away with home lighting. But, the key is to not leave your lights on all day and night. Use timers on your lights to go on when you would usually turn them on, so it appears that someone’s in the house. Timers are quite affordable, ranging from $10-$30 dollars, and these are worthy investments for home protection. It’s best to keep your house looking as is while you’re gone.
As to whether you should keep your curtains open, well, that’s a tough one. There are some who say that if you usually keep your curtains open while you’re home, then keep them open while you’re gone, which gives the impression that someone’s there. On the other hand, if you're gone during the summer months, seeing as this is Austin TX, and it’s extremely hot in the summer, you may want to close your shades and curtains to keep heat from coming in through the windows and causing the temperature to rise inside your home, and also to keep strangers and thieves from looking inside.
If you mow your lawn every week, and you're going to be on vacation for longer than a week, you may want to hire someone to take care of your lawn while you’re away, so that the property looks cared for. You may also have plants that need to be watered, so make sure those are taken care of as well.
9) Water Heater Levels
Unless you have someone house sitting for you while you’re away, it might make sense to turn off your water heater. You can shut off the circuit breaker before you leave, and if you have a gas-powered heater, then you can shut off the gas valve. Once you return, you should let your hot water run for a few minutes before turning the heater back on, to make sure that the tank isn’t empty. If there’s no water in it, the tank can suffer significant damage. If you take a winter trip, your water heater should be set to the lowest setting you can, just to prevent your pipes from freezing.
10) Manage your Fridge
Your refrigerator uses a lot of electricity to keep your food cold and frozen. If you’re taking an extended vacation and some of that food may go past its expiration date, consider tossing it before you leave, and then unplug and clean your fridge, which can save you some money on your electric bill. One additional tip if you do empty everything before you travel is to put a box of baking soda inside the fridge to help absorb odors and prevent the spread of mold.
If your fridge has individual settings for the fridge and the freezer, you can set the fridge to 42°F and the freezer to 5°F. This will still keep everything cold for the duration of your vacation, while also helping to bring down your electricity costs just a bit.
Enjoy these helpful tips on keeping your Austin home safe, while you're on vacation, from our SERVPRO team. Our Austin SERVPRO company is a locally-owned Austin TX company that specializes in water damage Austin TX, water removal Austin, mold inspections and mold remediation, fire damage repairs, residential and commercial cleaning services Austin and more. Give us a call if you're in need of any of these services.
Preventing Water Damage from Your HVAC Unit
If not properly maintained, your HVAC unit can lead to extensive water damage.
Water Damage and Your HVAC Unit
As anyone who's suffered from water damage knows, it can cause multiple problems that can be difficult to remedy. If you’ve been the victim of water damage from a flood or excessive rain in Austin, then it’s something that you should take care of immediately. However, other types of water damage may go unnoticed, causing more insidious damage and leading to unforeseen problems down the road. Your heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit (HVAC) is one such culprit; if your HVAC unit is not properly cared for, and routinely maintained and inspected, you can find yourself with some very extreme water damage and mold issues down the line.
Normally, your HVAC unit shouldn’t leak, but it can happen. Basic maintenance of your unit can keep it running without any problems, but sometimes this just isn’t the case. Even minor issues can cause a major headache for you, if your HVAC unit isn’t checked on a regular basis.
Typical Causes of HVAC Leaking and Water Damage Resulting from Your HVAC Unit
Like any major household appliance, your HVAC needs to be maintained regularly to prevent any future problems. It’s like your car, if you don’t change the oil every few thousand miles, you’ll experience problems; the same goes for your HVAC unit. Water damage, mold and even structural damage are major risks you can face if your HVAC unit is not properly maintained.
Below are some tips to prevent water damage from your HVAC:
Preventing Water Damage as a Result of Condensate Drain Issues
If your HVAC is in good working shape, then the water that’s collected in your condensate drain should be carried through your plumbing system and expelled outside of your Austin home. While you might see very small amounts of water from your unit, this is often normal as the unit is removing moisture from the air.
However, a clogged condensate drain can cause water to leak. As your condensate drain gets clogged, it needs to be flushed out. Dust from your filter and other related debris can get stuck in the drain, so it should be cleaned out often, depending on how much you use your HVAC.
Once you turn off your unit, the drain can be flushed with water mixed with some bleach, or it can be vacuumed out. If you’re not sure how to do this, then contact a specialist, who can also check if there are any issues with the drain itself. However, if you see larger than normal amounts of water appearing on your floor, on your walls and even your celling, then you have water damage Austin and need to get it taken care of right away.
Another thing to keep in mind: if you find a leak in your air conditioner’s drainage pipe, this should be replaced right away. You should contact a professional for this, because it’s a bit of a tricky process, but if a leak is evident, then take care of it immediately to prevent any further water damage from occurring.
And if you are the victim of water damage in Austin TX or the surrounding areas, rest assured our SERVPRO team can help.
Centrally located in Austin, our SERVPRO company consists of highly trained and certified water damage restoration professionals; not only can we take care of any water removal & extraction you may need, but we specialize in water damage restoration Austin, and can also handle any necessary mold inspection or mold remediation Austin.
Frozen Coils & How They Can Cause Water Damage
We all know how hot it gets here in Austin TX, and many people often have their ACs cranked very high in order to stay cool. If your HVAC is doing overtime in this department, you may actually find ice starting to appear in your evaporator coil. Once the ice begins to melt, the melted water will start to leak. If you think that your coil is frozen, then you should shut down your AC for a few hours, so that the ice melts and clean up any water that you find. If this occurs more than once, then you need to bring in a specialist to figure out the problem. Otherwise you could end up with more water damage on your hands.
Even a Simple Thing Like Your Condensate Pan Shifting Can Attribute to Water Damage
Another thing to look out for is your condensate pan, a galvanized metal pan that collects any condensation from your HVAC unit. If it shifts in any way, which they can do, you’ll find some type of water damage appearing over time. It’s not that difficult to repair as all you need is to check the pan’s placement and move it back in place if it’s moved.
Leaky Window Air Conditioners: A Large Culprit for Potential Water Damage & Mold
While most homes in Austin have central HVAC units, there are some homeowners that use window air conditioners to beat the heat. Although less expensive than a central system, these types of air conditioners are known to leak frequently, which can cause extreme water damage and mold. As they have no condensate drain, many times the water will leak out onto the window sill, causing permanent damage and allowing for mold to set in, causing even more problems.
These units are heavy, cumbersome and often tend to leak, as they usually aren’t mounted properly. If this is the situation, then you’ll find excess water coming into your house. Usually these just rest in your window, but it’s much safer if they are mounted on a window bracket, so that they’re positioned properly. If you don’t have a window bracket, be sure that it’s secure enough so that extra water drains on the outside of your Austin home, instead of the inside.
How to Repair Water Damage Resulting from Your HVAC Unit
If you find that your HVAC system is experiencing minor leaks, you may be able to tackle the problem on your own, but if it appears to be a long-term problem, then you’ll probably need some outside help. Slight damage to walls and small puddles may be easily repaired, but if your walls show increasing moisture, they you may have to resort to cutting them open to find the root of the damage. Your floorboards, sub floors and ceilings can also be affected, and if they start to sag from excessive water damage, they also will have to be dried and possibly removed and replaced.
Once water damage occurs, you’ll most likely have to deal with mold. Minor patches of mold may be easy to remove to stop it in its tracks…but depending on how extreme the water damage is, you may find mold growing on your walls, under your floors and in the bones of your Austin home’s structure.
Here’s where heavy cleaning and sanitizing of your home may be needed, so please don’t try to tackle this type of mold remediation on your own: contact an Austin mold remediation company, like our SERVPRO team instead.
What You Can Do To Prevent Leaks in Your HVAC Unit
While you may have a trusted HVAC system, it’s always best to do routine checks to prevent any possible water damage. Here are a few ideas.
1. Check and Clean the Condensation Line Frequently
You should always check your condensation line for moisture and possible clogs. The line should be cleaned every 3 to 6 months, to ensure that there’s no extra moisture of clogs.
2. Replace Your HVAC filter
Your filter can draw in tons of dust and dirt, which can greatly affect the performance of your unit. Your filter should be replaced every 3 months, to keep airflow consistent and to prevent clogs.
3. Air Duct Cleaning and Inspections, Cleaning & Maintenance of Your Overall HVAC System
It's always a good idea to have a regular inspection of your HVAC system to ensure that it's running properly. Our SERVPRO team can help by routinely inspecting and maintaining your HVAC system to help prevent the possibility of leaks and water damage from occurring. You won't always need an air duct cleaning Austin done, but should it be necessary, we can help with that as well.
4. Check Your HVAC Refrigerant Levels
The refrigerant is the ingredient used to keep the air in your air conditioner cool. If it’s low, then it can affect the performance of your HVAC, which may cause water to leak and cause subsequent water damage. Check the refrigerant levels regularly.
Call Our SERVPRO Office 24/7 Should You Have a Water Damage Emergency
If your water damage is extensive from your HVAC unit, don't try and tackle water damage removal and restoration and mold remediation by yourself. Our SERVPRO company is here for you. We're trained & certified professionals who are available 24/7 in order to assist you with your water damage Austin needs.
We specialize in water damage restoration, mold remediation, HVAC and air duct cleaning and more. We’ll work to properly restore your property in the aftermath of water damage from Austin storms, floods, leaks and/or issues with your HVAC unit. We use state of the art extraction equipment and scientific drying principles so that the water restoration process goes smoothly and is as stress free as possible.
We’re a locally owned Austin SERVPRO company that is proud to serve our community. We’re here for you should your Austin TX property experience any type of water damage.
Small Leaks Can Mean Major Water Damage in Your Austin Home
Leaks can lead to major water damage in your Austin property.
How a Small Leak in Your Austin Home Can Quickly Turn into a Major Water Damage Problem
A leak in your Austin TX home should never be ignored. Even the most miniscule leak can cause extreme water damage, and it’s often these types of leaks that people fail to notice. Minor leaks can affect carpeting, walls, and damage to your subfloors, as well as creating a major problem for your internal plumbing and pipes.
The best way to notice and stop any potential leaks is to do inspections every month. By using basic leak detection, you can uncover if you have any issues with moisture and humidity, as unexpected moisture that could be caused by leaks that can lead to potential structural damage. But how do you actually identify these potential problems?
Performing Leak Detection in Your Austin Home or Business
First, you should go through your Austin property, checking the inside and the outside at least once a month.
Inspect your property for traces of water or any kind of moisture that appears to be resulting from water damage Austin. Pipes often tend to be the culprit, but you should also look into crawl spaces in your basement, if you have one. In many cases moisture isn’t all that easy to identify, so you may be surprised if you overlook something and then find mold starting to grow.
If mold sets in, it can lead to a variety of other issues, including affecting your health (see 4 major health issues caused by mold). If you do see mold, make sure you act quickly by getting a mold inspection done. It's likely you might also need mold remediation Austin.
If you’re unable to find the leaks on your own, you may want to consult with a plumber. If you don’t have a regular plumber whose services you use, consult with a few plumbers regarding estimates and length of time to fix your leak. And if you need water damage restoration, our SERVPRO team can help.
Detecting if Mold Growth Has Begun
Active mold growth can often be detected by smell alone. If you smell anything musty or just flat out funky, then you might have mold growing somewhere. Even if you can’t see it, try to pinpoint where it may be coming from.
Areas where you’re likely to find moisture, such as bathrooms and showers can breed mold if not cleaned regularly. If excessive moisture exists in your Austin TX home, then you may need to bring in a dehumidifier and exhaust fans and get a mold inspection done.
An increase in mold can be caused by poor ventilation. Make sure all of your potentially damp spaces (basements, attics, crawl spaces, etc.) are well ventilated so that moisture can escape.
Always check on your air conditioner and HVAC system. Change your filters monthly and check all pipes for clogs, which can cause all kinds of problems. A properly working system can help drastically reduce humidity.
The Damage that Leaks Really Cause
It’s estimated that a small leak can cause a home to lose anywhere from 2,000 to 20,000 gallons of water per year. If this derived from a leaky kitchen faucet, it can usually be repaired pretty quickly, either by yourself or with the assistance of a plumber. Other leaks may be more difficult to find and may go undetected for longer periods of time, which can cause you massive water damage problems in the end.
Structural Damage Resulting from Leaks and Water Damage
Structural damage is another common issue resulting from leaks. Structural damage can be just as much of a headache as water damage to your Austin TX home, and just as costly. You’ll find that in addition to cosmetic issues, like water stains in the walls and ceilings, you’ll actually need to investigate if the water damage is more extreme. As a leak can develop over time, at the first sight of staining on your floors, walls, ceiling, etc., you should call in plumbers.
Bending and warping drywall can be a major issue once these materials begin to absorb water from a leak. The same can happen with wood floors, which will also hamper your home’s structural integrity. Support beams can also be affected, if the affected area isn’t tended to right away. Warped walls should be removed to access the leak in question and to prevent further water damage and mold; the growth of such problems can lead to your home becoming uninhabitable.
Lost Property Values as a Result of Water Damage in Austin
One thing to take into account is that if your home has recurring leaks and water damage, it can greatly affect the value of your home, especially if you ‘re trying to sell it. Once water damage is repaired, there may be traces of it that are left behind. That's one of the reasons why you'll want to contact a water damage restoration company, like our SERVPRO office. We specialize in "making it like it never happened."
If your water damage is excessive, and should traces of water damage remain, you’ll find that you may have to reduce your selling price.
Why Leak Prevention is Important
Conquering a water leak, regardless of its size, is something that should be handled by a plumber. A good plumber will be meticulous in researching, analyzing and restoring the numerous causes of water leaks and water damage. Plumbers are extremely knowledgeable and can help in stopping a water leak that will cause damage to your Austin home.
How SERVPRO of East Central Austin Can Help in the Event of Water Damage
If your Austin-based home or business has experienced water damage from a pesky leak that you can’t control, be sure to reach out to a plumber… But if water damage cleanup Austin is needed, you should contact a professional water damage and restoration company.
SERVPRO of East Central Austin will take every effort to restore your Austin TX home after you experience water damage. We can help you evaluate the overall scope of your water damage repairs, and we use only top of the line water extraction equipment to provide a seamless restoration process.
We’re a locally owned Austin company, and we understand how overwhelming it can be if your Austin property has experienced water damage. We’re highly trained water restoration experts, and our trained and certified professionals can help 24/7 with your water restoration and repairs.
4 Major Health Issues Caused by Mold
Austin mold and the various health issues it can create.
High Levels of Austin Mold Growth & What It Means for Your Health
Mold can be a major headache, literally. In addition to creating problems with your Austin home or structure, mold can also wreak major havoc on your health.
You may have heard that lately there's been a higher than average mold growth throughout Austin. The truth is mold is everywhere - that's why complete mold removal is not a reality; however mold remediation is an absolute priority, when you've experienced mold growth. If you're wondering what the difference is, check out this article, where you'll find information explaining the differences between mold removal and mold remediation. If you have seen mold growing in your Austin home or business, it's a necessity that you have it treated immediately, so the mold does not continue to grow, and cause additional issues with your health.
The good news is that mold remediation companies, like our SERVPRO team can help. From the initial stages of an Austin mold inspection to the remediation process to the restoration of your home or business - we're available 24/7 to help with your mold issues.
How does mold develop?
One of the major causes of mold is actually water damage Austin. But there are also many other ways in which mold can develop. These can range from poorly ventilated spaces, excessive moisture in the air and very high levels of humidity.
Mold: Moisture and Humidity
Being microscopic, mold is able to grow on practically any surface, including wood, paper, gypsum (drywall), and on fabrics. The key to stopping the spread of mold is to reduce moisture by using proper ventilation. Appliances such as a dehumidifier or an air conditioner can help to greatly improve ventilation and alleviate the presence of mold in your Austin home.
While mold can be stopped, you can still find traces of it, as its spores are microscopic. By controlling the amount of indoor moisture in your home or business, you can greatly reduce the spread of hazardous mold spores, which can affect your health and also damage your home or business; mold growth can actually compromise the structural integrity of a home or building.
4 Health Issues Associated with Mold in Austin
As mold spreads and goes ignored, your ability to experience a variety of serious health issues from mold increases. Nasal and sinus congestion, sneezing, eye and throat irritations, coughing, respiratory issues, and other health issues can be caused by different strains of mold.
Some of the more harmful mold strains are known as mycotoxins, which are toxic compounds that are released in certain environmental conditions, and can be extremely dangerous. While outdoor molds can be tricky to remediate, the biggest issue is actually indoor molds, because if these continue to go unchecked, they can also make you highly ill.
Not surprisingly, many mold allergies tend to escalate during the summer months. With asthma, for example, people can be affected year round, with symptoms, such as itching, runny nose, sneezing, scaly skin and congestion. Many are affected by molds that grow on trees, grass and leaves. The general misconception is that these spores die off in colder weather, when in fact they instead become dormant and reappear once it becomes warm again.
Humid areas in your Austin home or office, such as bathrooms, showers, kitchens, and areas with very little ventilation and basements, can be high-risk breeding grounds for mold and can greatly escalate the spread of mycotoxins.
Here are some of the major health issues that can be caused by different kinds of mold.
1) Asthma: Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease, which has no cure. Mold can definitely trigger it if spores find their way into the inner lining of your nose, causing symptoms that can make you feel feverish. Gradually, the mold spores will travel into your lungs, which can cause asthma symptoms, depending on how sensitive your lungs are. In many cases it tends to be seasonal, but if you’re allergic to indoor mold spores, then it can be a year–long issue. Indoor humidity can also cause upper respiratory issues for people with asthma.
The most notable asthma symptoms include coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing and tightness in the chest. In some cases, an asthma attack can be so extreme that it may require medical attention.
2) Allergies: Alternaria and cladosporium are the two most common allergy causing molds, which, if inhaled can cause serious reactions. Allergic Rhinitis is also known as hay fever, and is one of the more common afflictions caused by mold. Its many symptoms include sneezing, red and itchy eyes, a runny or stuffy nose, all of which can affect your ability to sleep and concentrate. Hay fever is often brought on by pollen, pet dander, dust, and, of course, mold. However, it should be noted that the mold involved here is usually outdoor mold, with pollen serving as the major culprit.
3) Pulmonary Hemorrhage is a disease that causes bleeding in the lungs. Mold spores can get into the lungs, leading to a wide variety of respiratory problems. Pulmonary Hemorrhage tends to have a profound effect on infants, seniors and individuals with pre-existing pulmonary disorders.
3) Bronchitis: While alternaria and cladosporium are known to cause allergies, these two pesky molds can also cause bronchitis. Bronchitis is caused when the air passages that lead to the lungs become inflamed. Black mold can be a leading cause of this, especially if you have leaky or damp walls and ceilings. In addition to black mold, another type of mold, stachybotrys chartarum, can cause chronic bronchitis if not treated, and it can also lead to death.
4) Depression and Toxic Mold Syndrome: Excessive exposure to toxic mold can also lead to insomnia, anxiety, memory loss, confusion, shortness of breath and depression. There have been cases where individuals developed bipolar like symptoms, only to discover that Toxic Mold Syndrome was actually the cause. If not remediated properly, Toxic Mold or Black Mold can cause cognitive and emotional issues, as well as brain toxicity. The exposure to black mold can be so severe that there have been reported cases of brain swelling. However, if caught early, many of these effects can be reversed, but it’s important to always get a second opinion if you suspect a misdiagnosis.
While you may think that mold may not have that much impact on your health, there are numerous symptoms that can be caused by exposure to different kinds of mold. These symptoms can include include: Fatigue, Headache, Morning stiffness, Red eyes, blurred vision, sweats, mood swings, sharp pains, joint pain, diarrhea Static shocks, blurry vision, tingling skin, and many others.
How to Solve the Mold Problem
The first step is to stop mold in its tracks. If you should experience any type of water damage, extreme humidity, or even start to see the slightest traces of mold, you should make every attempt to find the source and clean and dry the affected areas as soon as possible.
Mold can often be removed from hard surfaces by cleaning with soap and water. Should your carpets and walls show any signs of mold, they could be very difficult to clean; if this is the case, you may have to throw out your carpets and replace your walls. Mold and other bacteria can also appear if you have pools of standing water around your property, so be sure to remove those if they exist.
If your mold situation becomes way too problematic and overwhelming, then you may have to reach out to an Austin mold removal specialist, to help remove and remediate the mold in your home or business.
How SERVPRO Can Help:
Granted, mold removal can be extremely difficult, and if it spreads and is beyond your ability to conquer, then you should contact a mold remediation specialist, like SERVPRO of East Central Austin, who can help stop the spread mold, so that you’re no longer at risk.
Our SERVPRO team is centrally located in Austin and consists of highly trained mold damage specialists, with specific training and required certifications to handle your mold remediation needs. We use only top of the line, state of the art equipment to treat your home.
The more that mold spreads, the more complex it becomes to remove. SERVPRO of East Central Austin will examine and detect any possibility of mold at your home or business. We can provide an immediate mold inspection and if one should exist, we’ll get right on it to start remediation and stop if from spreading.
Flooding in Austin: How to Protect Your Austin Home or Business from Flood Damage
Flooding and flood damage in Austin can be extensive; discover some ways to protect your Austin home or business from flood damage.
A Guide to Preventing Your Austin TX Property from Flooding
Flooding is something that no one should ever have to deal with, but it does happen. Austin is no stranger to flooding; the downtown area has experienced numerous floods throughout the years, with some being very severe and costing hundreds of lives and millions of dollars in flood damage restoration and repairs.
Aside from its somewhat hilly terrain, Austin remains a very flood prone area, as it has the potential for run off, which can cause flash flooding as well. In fact, flash floods are probably the biggest disaster threat to the Austin TX area.
When flooding occurs in your Austin home or business, you can end up with an extensive amount of water damage, and you'll likely need water extraction done, along with water damage restoration Austin.
The quicker the flooding problem is addressed, the better off you'll be, as the longer you wait to contact a flood restoration company, the better chance there is that mold and bacteria will begin forming.
If you've experienced flooding in your Austin property, it would be a good idea to have a mold inspection done; if it turns out mold has begun to grow, you could need mold remediation done. This is one of the reasons why it's very important to address any type of flood damage quickly. This guide on the common types of mold in Austin and their various levels of danger may help you in figuring out if mold has begun growing on your property.
When your Austin property has already been the victim of flooding, a company that specializes in water restoration and mold removal/remediation in Austin, like our SERVPRO team, can guide you on the necessary steps and provide the various services needed.
But how do you prevent flooding before it even happens in your property? Well, here are some tips on doing just that, as well as helping you understand why Austin TX can often be very prone to flooding and flood damage in general.
Why Is Austin Prone to Floods?
Austin’s topography is what makes the city a prime candidate for flooding. For example, the Balcones Fault is a cliff formation that runs from Del Rio in Val Verde County up towards Dallas. Part of it is situated in the Texas Hill Country and it serves as a gateway of sorts for passing weather systems that travel through the Gulf of Mexico. When an air mass changes its altitude (called an Orographic Lift), clouds and precipitation can develop which eventually leads to heavy rain and resulting storm damage in areas, like Austin TX, that lie west of the fault.
On average, Austin gets up to 34.25 inches of rain per year. However, with less rain, the soil in the surrounding areas becomes dry and it becomes more difficult for the soil to accept so much water. And that's when the flooding begins.
Some Notorious Austin Floods
Throughout the years, Austin has experienced many serious floods that have caused extensive damage and loss of life. Here are just a few examples of severe storms that greatly affected the Austin TX area and led to extensive flooding:
- In July 1869, Austin experienced 64 hours of continuous rain, which caused the Colorado River to rise up to 51 feet.
- In 1900, the Austin Dam, which was built in 1893, burst due to excessive rain. The Dam’s powerhouse was flooded by a 40-foot wave after which downtown Austin was immersed with water with creeks reaching levels of 20 feet.
- Heavy rains caused numerous floods in 1935, 1936 and 1938; each flood caused the Colorado River to overflow, which resulted in extensive flood damage in Central Austin.
- One of the worst storms to hit Austin was during Memorial Day, 1981. Ten inches of rain fell in a four hour timeframe, causing Downtown Austin to flood severely. Thirteen people died during the storm, which also left more than $35 million in damages.
- The Memorial Day flood of 2015 greatly affected Central Texas. Heavy rain caused many flooded streets, falling trees and extensive loss of power for many in the Austin area. Flash flood warnings were issued and residents were instructed to stay indoors and off the roads. Water levels in Barton Creek and Lady Bird Lake quickly rose due to the extensive water. Interstate 35 was flooded, as was downtown Austin later that day. Fourteen people died during the course of the flood.
What You Can Do to Lessen Your Chances of Flood Damage in Austin
Flooding is not restricted to any one particular area. It can happen anywhere, and when it’s least expected, which is why certain types of flooding are called ‘flash floods.’
While you may not know when a flood is coming, it’s important to be prepared. If you get weather alerts on your cell phone, then you may have ample time to protect your personal items and prevent major damage from a flood.
If you know you're in a flood zone, one way you can safeguard against water damage caused by flooding is to elevate your personal items above the floor. Even one inch of water inside your home or business can create a major headache, and cause significant damage to your property.
If you’re not sure how high the water can reach in your area, you can check flood levels and maps for your area through the Federal Emergency Management System’s (FEMA) Flood Map portal on their website, or check with your insurance agent if you're in a flood zone. Certain parts of Austin are more prone to flooding than others.
Even if your Austin home or business is located at a high elevation, it doesn't always mean you're in the clear, so here are some protective measures to minimize flood damage in your Austin home or business.
1. Protect Your Electrical Systems
Any electrical switches, circuit breakers, sockets, and wires should be raised at least one foot above the anticipated flood level. Should any water get into these systems, it can cause major problems.
You should also raise, if you can, your water heater and furnace so that they are also situated above the flood levels to avoid being saturated by floodwater. Please note: You should never, ever try to do any of this yourself. Reach out to a contractor or an electrician to adjust the levels of these systems.
2. Elevate Any Outdoor Equipment
Any type of external fuel tanks, AC units, and generators, should not remain at ground level. These should be raised up to one foot above your base flood elevation and anchored to prevent any kind of flooding. If these aren’t properly secured, they can become loose, and cause contamination to your yard, as well as the surrounding area. If they become immersed with water, they will more or less be useless and unable to be repaired.
3. Check Your Water Valves
If your sewer becomes flooded during a storm, it can cause sewage to back up into your house, with disastrous consequences. Installing an interior or exterior backflow valve will help prevent a build up of unwanted waste from coming into your Austin home or business.
Backflow valves are designed to help protect potable water from contamination from backflow. A flap valve is designed to operate under low heads of water and basically provide the same function as a backflow valve. Check valves are formatted to allow liquid, such as water to pass in only one direction; there are many different varieties of check valves, which are also known as clack valves, non-return valves, reflux valves and gravity brakes.
If you don’t have any of these types of valves currently installed in your Austin property, then you should consult with a specialist on what type you should install to allow water to escape and prevent backflow from coming in.
4. Check Water Distribution and Your Austin Property's Structure
One way to affect the flow of water around your home or business in the event of a flood is to check and possibly alter the grading or sloping of your property. By angling the ground, you can actually shift how water comes in contact with your property. Of course this can be problematic if your house wasn’t originally built with this in mind. Still, if this does pose a problem, you can reach out to your county planning office to determine the grading of your property and find alternative methods for preventing flood water from making contact and managing water flow.
Creating a slight moat around your home or business in certain areas can also help, as can creating better irrigation for your property in general.
5. Some Effective, but Costly Measures to Protect Your Austin Home or Business from Flooding
If you have frequent flooding in your home, but you don't want to move to another home, there are a few more involved alternatives to prevent flooding, but they are quite costly.
- Elevate your entire home: Many homes in coastal areas are elevated on columns that clear the flood level. If you have consistent flooding, this might be one option, but it can be very costly.
- Believe it or not, you can actually wet proof your house. How? You can install foundation vents, which allow water to travel through your home, instead of accumulating inside and destroying your property. This would help prevent against possible flood damage. For example: if you had a house of 1,000 square feet, you’d need around 7 square feet of flood venting to protect your property.
- One preventive method is to dry proof your Austin home or business. Plastic sheeting or any kind of waterproof film can be applied to exterior walls fairly easily to prevent flooding, but should be removed once any flooding or water damage is remediated. Any openings or cracks in walls should be remedied with a waterproof sealant to prevent any seepage from floodwater. Plastic sheeting can be used to seal up windows and create a barrier for any minor cracks that can cause drafts. Check and reinforce your walls to make sure that they can take on heavy amounts of water and miscellaneous debris. These measures, while a bit time-consuming can help keep water out of your house during a flood.
6. Additional Measures that Can Be Taken to Help Prevent Flood Damage to Your Property
Here are some additional ways to help protect your property in the event of an impending flood.
- Clean out your gutters, drains and downspouts. Leaves and foreign objects cannot only prevent water flow, they can also cause run off down the side of your home and help initiate water damage.
- If you have a second floor, move all of your furniture, rugs, electronics and anything else of value and importance upstairs as a safety precaution.
- Turn off your electricity via your breaker panel.
- Major appliances such as washers, dryers, stoves, etc., should all be lifted on to cinderblocks, if possible. This will help prevent them from being saturated with water.
We can’t emphasize enough how extremely dangerous floods can be. And while these preventive measures can help, it’s best not to tackle them on your own. If heavy equipment or electrical manipulation is involved, please contact a professional instead of tackling this on your own.
While these ideas can certainly help to prevent damage to your home or business during a flood, it should also be noted that any type of water ranging from heavy rain to a minor leak, could lead to extensive damage.
If your home or business experiences a flood and you have water damage and mold as a result, there is a chance that you can make minor repairs on your own. But if severe water damage has occurred, it makes sense to contact an outside source to help in the clean up and remediation.
Our SERVPRO Team Can Help With Austin Flood Damage Restoration & Repairs
If you need assistance with the flood damage you've experienced, then a flood damage restoration company like SERVPRO of East Central Austin can help. We're a team of trained & certified professionals, who are available around the clock to help with your flood, storm and water damage Austin needs.
Our goal is to properly restore your property (and make it "like it never even happened"). Damage from Austin storms and floods can be a stressful experience. We'll help you review the scope of your flood repairs, and utilizing state of the art equipment and scientific principles, we'll make the flood restoration process as painless as possible.
If you’ve experienced a flood in your Austin property and require flood damage repairs and restoration, remember, our SERVPRO team is available 24/7 to help.
How to Treat Mold in Austin
A Guide for Treating Mold in Austin
Mold in Austin: What to Do When You Discover Mold in Your Austin Home or Business
If your Austin home or business experiences unusual moisture in the air, or has experienced extensive water damage, then you can expect mold to make an appearance in the near future. Mold often appears in environments that consist of poorly ventilated spaces and high humidity. Flooding and ongoing leaks are also a major culprit of mold in Austin.
If you own a home or business in Austin, you may find that you’re dealing with serious mold issues, and you could have mold removal and mold remediation costs in the aftermath of flood a heavy storm, and/or after suffering from ongoing water damage.
While mold can be stopped, it’s virtually impossible to fully eliminate all mold spores inside a home or business, as mold is actually a naturally growing substance in the environment. However you can work to stop the spread of mold spores by controlling your Austin home or business’s moisture levels.
Austin Mold: A Growing Problem with Moisture and Humidity
Mold is microscopic, and can pretty much grow on anything, including paper, wood, drywall, food and carpets. If your home or business is properly vented, and if you use air conditioners and dehumidifiers, you can greatly reduce moisture buildup and improve ventilation to alleviate the presence of mold.
Mold: How It Can Hurt You
The possibility of suffering from serious health issues increases with the spread of mold. If ignored, and if you have health-related issues, such as asthma, respiratory issues or skin conditions like eczema, the results can be serious. Exposure to mold can give you symptoms, such as nasal and sinus congestion, coughing, sneezing, respiratory problems, and throat inflammation. If you even suspect the slightest appearance of mold, it should be managed and remediated immediately by a professional mold remediation company, like our SERVPRO team.
Most molds consist of organisms that are not actually dangerous. But, there are certain strains of mold, called mycotoxins, which thrive in damp environments like kitchens, bathrooms, and basements. Some of these mycotoxins are actually quite dangerous, and can be very harmful if not properly addressed.
Different Types of Mold in Austin and Their Levels of Danger
Nobody likes mold, so if you’re a homeowner, or business owner in Austin, there are several kinds of indoor mold with strains that can cause great structural damage as well as physical harm. Of course it’s best to remove these types (or any type of mold for that matter) when they first appear.
There are many strains of mold in existence, but these are the four types of mold that most commonly appear in Austin homes and businesses.
- One of the most common types of indoor mold is Cladosporium. As the spores are often found on outdoor plants, they are so microscopic that they can find their way indoors. Cladosporium has been known to be less harmful to humans than other types of mold (it tends to be pretty stinky), but if untreated, it can cause infections in the toenails, lungs and sinuses. It can appear in a variety of colors, such as olive green, black and brown.
- While the antibiotic penicillin has helped millions fight bacterial infections, it derives from a form of mold called Penicillium. If you seen spoiled food in your refrigerator, then you’ve evidently encountered this type of mold, which grows indoors in low humidity and in places where there’s sufficient moisture.
- If you have hay fever or asthma, then you might have been exposed to Alternaria: This type of fungi can grow on skin as well as in your mucous membranes and eyes. They also grow in colonies that are usually black, gray or grey. If you have respiratory issues or suffer from an autoimmune disease, Alternaria can cause serious problems.
- You will often find Aspergillus in high oxygen environments and on foods such as vegetables and bread. There are a variety of different strains of this particular mold. Some can be toxic and can cause serious infections, while others are used in the fermentation of alcoholic drinks.
- Stachybotrys chartarum: This specific mold is most commonly associated with water damage Austin. This black mold needs high moisture in order for it grow. It’s often found in building materials, such as wet gypsum and wallpaper. Not only can Stachybotrys chartarum affect your health, it can also be detrimental to the safety of your pets. As dangerous as this mold is, it should only be removed by mold remediation professionals.
If you know you have mold, but are unsure of what type of mold you have, you may want to start by having a professional mold inspection Austin.
Stopping Mold Before It Starts in Your Austin Home or Business
As harmful as mold can be, how do we prevent it? One way is to prevent the spread of humid air in your home or office, by using a dehumidifier and making sure that there is proper ventilation, especially when furniture is involved. Believe it or not, a couch leaning against a wall can actually prevent the flow of air, which in turn can cause mold to develop, especially if the air is humid.
If you have small problems with mold creeping in, it can be eliminated with regular cleaning of your home or office. Keep areas where there is moisture clean on a regular basis, like a shower or bathroom, and even the kitchen. The same goes for keeping your air ducts and vents clean, to avoid any moisture from settling in and creating problems: clean your vents frequently and change your AC filters once a month.
In addition to individual rooms in your home or business, your refrigerator is also not immune to the world of mold. If you have a well-stocked fridge, it’s inevitable that something will be overlooked and start to rot; this is especially true of fruit, which has a short shelf life, and if it’s ignored, it can dry out or begin to get moldy. Once any food in the fridge has passed it spoiling point, decomposition begins, and brings on mycotoxins. So, keep track of what's in your fridge, and if it starts to spoil, toss it out.
The problem with many older homes is that poor ventilation can bring about excessive mold if it’s not addressed. While most homes have central air conditioning, some older homes may not, and if the environment tends to be humid, without a dehumidifier or cross ventilation, there is a greater chance for humidity and mold to make an unwelcome appearance.
Most new and modern construction projects also use drywall, which can be extremely vulnerable to moisture. If not properly treated, the gypsum in drywall will eventually soften over time, and attract mold spores, which will be more difficult to clean over time.
In addition to internal mold issues, you should check the outside of your business or home for leaks in your roof, as well as making sure your gutters are properly cleaned out.
A leaky roof, if undetected for long periods of time, will eventually cause water to spread, and can lead to very costly repair and roof replacement. Cleaning out your gutters can also help prevent water from running down the side of your structure, which can affect the quality of your foundation.
Combustion appliances, such as furnaces, gas water heaters, fireplaces, space heaters, gas ranges, ovens, clothes dryers, and wood or coal-burning stoves should be inspected to make sure that they are properly vented.
Basic Mold Cleanup Procedures
Regardless of the cause, if you do experience any kind of water damage, you will need to clean and dry the areas quickly. Do not let the water damage continue, as a 24-48 hour window to clean and dry the areas in question is likely all you have before mold begins to grow and spread. If you have any standing water, be sure to have water extraction done in your Austin home or business if it is too much for you to remove on your own.
In most cases, minor mold spots can be removed with water and detergent, followed by letting it fully dry out. Carpeting, furniture and ceiling tiles, may not be as easy to remedy; in fact, you may have to dispose of them if the damage is too extreme. Eliminate any puddles of standing water that you come across; this not only can help spread mold, but it’s also a breeding ground for a variety of bugs and bacteria.
If mold removal becomes too much of a conquest for you to handle on your own, then you should contact a mold remediation specialist, like SERVPRO of East Central Austin, who can help in getting rid of the spread of mold, so that it’s no longer an issue.
Water Extraction and Water Damage Restoration in Austin: Tips and Tricks
Water damage from a flood.
Major Problems Connected with Water Damage
Believe it or not, there are many problems you can face while attempting water damage cleanup yourself; therefore, we must stress that you need to be cautious before even embarking on these procedures. When attempting water damage restoration & water extraction on your own, here are some issues that you may have to confront, with some tips on how to resolve them:
Water Damage in Austin Resulting in Electrical Problems
You can never be too careful when it comes to electricity once a flood or serious water damage has occurred in your Austin property. You need to check that all of your gas and electricity has been turned off prior to engaging in any type water extraction or any type of cleaning procedure revolving around water damage Austin.
Make sure that all of your circuits and switches are disconnected. The covers to your electrical outlets should also be removed to let the wiring dry out; also do this with your fuses and breakers to prevent any issues such as fires and smoldering. Once everything has dried, bring in an electrician to fully inspect all of the circuits for proper voltage, grounding and to be sure that they’re safe before you reconnect everything,
Our Austin SERVPRO company uses top-quality drying equipment for our water damage cleanup jobs. Keep in mind that if you're not entirely sure of the extent of your damage (remember, some effects of water damage may not be noticeable right away) then you should be safe and contact a professional water extraction and water damage restoration company, like our local SERVPRO team.
Mud: A Messy Contributor
Sadly, flooding can be a common occurrence in Austin, particularly in certain parts of Austin; you may find after a flood has invaded your home or business, that you're the victim of not just excessive amounts of water, but also mud. Heavy periods of rain can soak the ground causing dirt to loosen and be carried away, leaving mud as a result. Once mud begins to loosen it can grab everything within its reach and has a tendency to be very destructive. And yes, that means as a result of a flood here in Austin, you can be the victim of mudflow.
Should you have an encounter with mud in your Austin home or business, be very careful as it may be contaminated (mud can host a variety of animals and larva, which along with random debris that it gathers during its journey, can be very unsanitary).
All mud should be properly extracted before you even begin to embark on the cleaning process. Mud is extremely destructive, as it can damage homes as well as roads and it can also clog sewers.
Can you Save Your Furniture After Water Damage?
Here is where you’ll have to consider whether your furniture is a loss after water damage, especially if it appears pretty dire in terms of saving. If you have upholstered furniture or any mattresses that have been affected by water damage, you should get rid of them right away to prevent contamination from spreading.
Sometimes we all feel tied to things. If you have pieces of furniture that have a sentimental value or antiques and you just can’t bear to part with them, here are some tips on dealing with those.
If they are upholstered pieces, removing all of the upholstery and stuffing may be your best bet. This will allow you to clean the frame of your furniture, so that it can be reupholstered. You should be able to save most plastic, wood and metal furniture, but make sure that it is properly cleaned.
Carpets can be another major issue, and if they’ve had sufficient water damage then unfortunately they may have to go as well. Contaminants from the water can get deeply soaked into your carpet’s fibers, and they can be harmful. If you feel a carpet is worth saving, then give cleaning it a try. If your home or business has wall-to-wall carpeting, you should remove not just the carpet but the carpet pads as well, so that the floors can properly dry. If you use a carpet pad, that will also need to be discarded.
You may be able to save items such as blankets, throw rugs and miscellaneous bedding, if they’re easy to clean. The best way to do this is to bring them outside and clean them with soapy water, or another cleaning solution that you think might work, and use the power of the hot Austin sun to air-dry them.
Flooding and Water Damage can Greatly Impact Your Austin Food and Water Quality
Water: Once your property has had a flood or any other kind of water damage, you should be aware that you may have issues with your home water system. Never go in thinking that your water is safe and ready to use. As a precaution, you should contact your water company and the public health department, and let them investigate whether or not your water is safe. Contaminated water is not safe to drink and should not be used for washing and cooking under any circumstances.
Bacterial infections tend to be a high occurrence in the aftermath of a water damage disaster, so you may have to boil water before use it initially, until you remedy all problems. If you don't take these precautions, the water from your system can be heavily contaminated, which in turn can be extremely dangerous, so check with the public health department regarding any contaminants.
Food: In the aftermath of serious water damage, you have to assess how safe your food is. It’s not advisable to keep anything perishable. However, if you have canned goods and they haven’t come into contact with any contaminated water, then you might still be able to use them.
One way to save your canned goods, if they’ve not been affected, is to peel off the labels, and then wash the cans in a mix of bleach and potable water (you can use 1TB of bleach per gallon of water), which will basically kill any potential contaminants and help to disinfect items.
Once dry, re-label each can with a permanent marker, and add the expiration date as some canned goods can last for a few years. If you have food in plastic or foil pouches (known as retort pouches, similar to the Army’s ready to eat meals), you may find that these are safe, as long as the pouches aren’t broken or compromised in any way.
If your cooking utensils have been contaminated, then you should definitely throw them out. Any utensils and items made out of wood or plastic should be trashed. This includes bottles, cutting boards, spatulas, cups, spoons, etc., But not all is lost: the good thing is that kitchen utensils made out of metal, and items made out of glass or porcelain, can also be saved in soaked if the aforementioned bleach and water solution.
Water Damage in Austin and Repairing Your Floors
If you've coated the floors of your Austin home or business with polyurethane (or any other similar coating), be aware that they can still experience water damage. Some varnishes do protect wood to some degree, but they shouldn't be considered as an impenetrable wall that will protect your wood floors forever. Even an outside deck that has been continuously treated and been through years of rain may deteriorate over time, allowing for rot to set in.
Every drying procedure is different, and drying procedures can vary in length after water damage, with much of it based on how much damage has taken place. Floors need extra special care and attention when this happens. Don’t rush the restoration process, because then you'll have to deal with wooden planks that may buckle, bend and even crack if they’re not properly dried. If you’re thinking of attempting to renovate your wood floors, make sure that they’re completely dry before beginning any repairs.
Vinyl floors can also fall victim to excessive water damage. Vinyl floors come as either large sheets, that you’d find in a kitchen, or they are interlocking planks that resemble wood. Once vinyl gets wet, it can buckle and crack and needs to be replaced…which will also help your subfloor to completely dry out. Don’t reuse the vinyl; just replace it; after water damage, vinyl won’t be salvageable.
Preventing the Spread of Water Damage in the Walls of Your Austin Home or Business
Should floodwater severe water damage affect your Austin property, there’s a chance that your walls may also experience water damage. In the event that this happens, you’ll probably have to cut your walls open in order to dry them out. Wet walls can accumulate mold or rot if not properly ventilated and dried.
While cutting your walls open will be time consuming, it’s the best way to properly ventilate them. Even the smallest amount of water damage can spread and cause problems, and the last thing you want is a room full of mold, so this will help to prevent it from spreading. And be sure to remove any and all insulation, as it can also be contaminated.
If you have walls without insulation and you don’t want to cut them open, try drilling holes in the walls to help air get through. You should also remove baseboards if they become waterlogged, and be sure to remove any wet drywall, which can replaced once everything is dry.
Your walls will not dry overnight. In many cases, it may take up to a month for them to be fully dried out. Using humidifiers and fans will definitely help move the process along and may help cut the time in half. You should also open all of your windows, if possible, to allow for cross-ventilation. After everything dries out, you should use more durable materials such as wood paneling, foam insulation, and tiles, all of which can withstand excessive water.
Other Problems That Can Result from Water Damage Austin
As we've focused on floors, furniture and walls in this section, you should also be aware of how water damage can cause problems for your air conditioning and heating system, your air ducts, your sewage system, your water well (if you have one on your property), your foundation and your roof. Excessive water saturation and water damage can impact the overall condition of these elements of your home or office, if you've experienced a flood or a storm.
Be very careful not to use your heat or air conditioning until it's dry and safe to use. Make sure that the electricity is turned off and your system is disconnected, prior to having it inspected for any water damage. If you find water has gotten into your air ducts, you’ll need to have those cleaned and aired out as well.
Remember that any type of water, including floods, heavy rain, or even a minor leak if unchecked, can cause a major headache and extensive water damage. In many cases, if the damage is minor, you may be able to remedy the situation on your own. This is not always the case, however, and sometimes the situation is far more extreme and requires professional assistance. Attempting to remedy a potentially hazardous situation on your own, especially if you’re not prepared, can be disastrous for you, your business or your family.
Are You in Need of Help with Your Water Extraction and Water Damage Restoration?
Give Our Austin SERVPRO Team a Call
If you’re not sure that you can tackle the water extraction & water damage restoration by yourself, then a water extraction & water damage restoration company like our local SERVPRO team is there for you. Our employees are a group of dedicated, trained & certified professionals available 24/7 in order to assist you with your water damage Austin needs.
We specialize in water damage removal and restoration, and we will take every effort to properly restore your property in the aftermath of water damage from Austin storms, floods, leaks or whatever your particular situation.
We'll help you review the magnitude of your water damage repairs along with an advance water damage inspection and state of the art extraction equipment that will make the restoration process a stress free experience.
As a locally owned Austin company, our focus is on the community that we serve. We understand how stressful this experience can be when your Austin property has experienced water damage.
Our SERVPRO Austin Team consists of highly trained water restoration technicians who are able to provide guidance and much needed resources, and there is no job too big or small for our Austin team.
We are trained and certified professionals ready and willing to help with your water restoration repairs. If you require water damage repairs and restoration, contact our local SERVPRO company today.
Water Extraction and Water Damage Cleanup: Should You Attempt This on Your Own?
Extensive water damage from flooding in a TX neighborhood.
Water Extraction and Water Damage Cleanup in Austin
If your Austin home or business has experienced a flood or extensive water damage, you’ll need sufficient time to review the damage and determine what you’ve lost. Whether or not the restoration is something you can handle on your own will likely weigh on whether the water damage is minimal or excessive, and if you require water extraction.
If you do require water extraction, then you may not want to tackle this on your own, especially if your Austin home or business is severely flooded. In that case it's best to reach out to a water extraction and water damage restoration company like our local SERVPRO office.
If you have minor water damage it may not be difficult to handle the cleanup on your own, but you should be cautious, especially if you come across mold or other issues typically related to water damage.
While you’re determining if this is something that you can handle on your own, you need to be aware of the impact and long-term effects that extensive water damage can have on your health, safety and your home or business. If you’re up for the challenge and are sure that you can take this on by yourself, please be aware of the following risks and be prepared:
Assessing and Preparing for Water Damage Cleanup & Water Extraction
Before getting started with any type of water damage cleanup or extraction, it’s important to follow some basic safety procedures:
- First, you have to be sure that your home or business is safe to enter. Electrical problems can be tricky, so if there is damage that might have caused electrical problems, like downed or exposed wires, or if there is so much water and you need water extraction and you’re not sure that you should go in, then don’t risk it. Best thing to do is to get in touch with an electrician, who will check if your power lines and circuits are secured before you begin. If it looks as if too much damage has occurred, they you may clearly have electrical problems.
- Be sure that that there are no potential gas leaks or additional fire hazards. Be sure to have a battery-powered flashlight with you at all times. Never use a lighter or matches if there’s even the slightest chance of a leak. A spark from a match or a lighter can ignite a fire, so be very careful.
- As there are a variety of cleaning solutions out there, you should be cautious when selecting the right one. Pure chlorine bleach works, but so does ammonia and vinegar…however, you should never mix any of these together, as they can create an extremely toxic and harmful chlorine gas. Do some investigative work to see which one is the best for this type of project and use only that one.
- It’s important, before you begin, that you have plenty of protective clothing, such as goggles, boots, rubber gloves and especially a respirator, because some the air may be toxic. You should be fully protected as any floodwater water damaged material may be riddled with contaminants.
- Keep a look out for animals. All kinds of insects and other creatures can be attracted by Austin floodwater. Snakes, fire ants and mosquitoes are just of the few that can be drawn to water…so be careful.
It’s no secret that cleaning is a very crucial part of the water damage cleanup process; it’s not something that can be done overnight. Many of the items in your Austin home or business may in fact be salvageable, but you may find that some things just have to go. In this case it’s best to reach out to a water damage specialist, otherwise you may find yourself doing all of the cleaning, water extraction and repairs on your own.
Of course, you may feel that you need to get right in and start cleaning right away, but before you embark on any type of cleaning or cleanup, you’ll need to make sure that all the water is removed and that all the relative elements of your Austin property are properly dried out.
Let’s look at wood floors: if you have wood floors, and it turns out that they’re fully soaked, they’ll have to properly dry out before you can do any type of water damage restoration. You may actually have to remove and replace all of the floors if it’s that bad. Venturing into new construction, before the structure is completely dry, will also be problematic as you may encounter mold, which over time will cause your property to deteriorate. It’s very important to make sure that everything is dried out before you even begin moving forward.
Our local SERVPRO company uses top-quality drying equipment for our water damage cleanup & restoration jobs. Keep in mind that if you're not entirely sure of the extent of your damage, or whether you're really capable of cleaning it up properly on your own (remember, some effects of water damage may not be all that noticeable at first) then you should be safe and contact a professional water extraction and water damage restoration company, like our Austin-based SERVPRO company.
Other issues, such as mud, food and water safety, home furnishing restoration, and how to deal with wet floors and walls, among others will be covered in Part 2 of this article, Tips on Dealing with Major Water Damage Issues.
Tips for Preventing Fire Damage in Your Austin Home or Business
Fire damage, leading to additional water damage, smoke damage and more. Tips on how to prevent fire from occurring in your Austin property.
Keeping Your Austin Property Safe from a Fire
Austin residents and business owners often don't realize the many steps they can take to prevent their home or business from becoming the victim of a fire. Here's are some helpful tips, explaining how to better protect your home or business from possible fire hazards.
If you've already experienced a fire, and aren't sure what to expect in terms of fire damage repairs and cleanup, be sure to check out our article, How to Handle Fire Damage in Your Austin Home or Business.
1. Fireplaces and Chimneys: If you have a fireplace or wood burning stove in Austin, it’s highly recommended that your chimney be cleaned regularly by a professional at least once a year. Creosote buildup from excessive use can start a hazardous chimney fire, and you can suffer a good amount of damage before you realize a chimney fire has begun.
Have your chimney cleaned by a professional at least once a year. Don't rely on creosote-reducing logs to clean your chimney for you. These logs are seen as a quick fix, but they will not be able to remove all of the creosote, nor should they in any manner be a replacement for a professional chimney sweep and maintenance.
Ongoing basic maintenance of your fireplace or stove, will greatly improve its performance and will help prevent chimney fires and other types of fire damage repairs from being needed in the future.
When using a wood burning stove or fireplace, you'll also want to make sure you never dump your ashes in the trash, as the ashes can smolder for long periods of time. When disposing of ashes, be sure to take them outside directly and dispose of them in a safe manner.
2. Dryers and Lint: Many people don't realize that lint can be a strong fire hazard. It's important to remove lint from your dyer every time you use it. Lint is combustible, and when heat builds up in the dryer vents, a spark can occur if the flow of air is restricted.
The lint can catch fire. In addition to removing the lint out of your filter, be sure to also check your dryer duct tubes for any lint buildup.
3. Fire Hazards that Stem from Outside the Home: Austin is known to experience grass fires and wildfires every once in a while. If you have a firewood pile near your home, you should move it and any other potential burnable items, such as twigs and leaves.
If wood and leaves are dry and next to your property, they can go up in flames fairly quickly, causing major fire damage. In the kitchen, flammable items, such as dishrags, paper bags and other flammables should be kept away from your stove and oven. And it goes without saying, if you’re a smoker, try not to smoke inside, and be careful when you do smoke.
4. Surge Protectors, a Worthy Investment: Not every property has abundant electrical outlets to run our gadgets, computers, and stereos. If this is the case, then a surge protector can be very beneficial in the long run.
Surge protectors are designed to replace outdated multi outlet power strips in the event of a power spike or a shut off during an electric storm or power outage. If you have an old style power strip with so many cords sticking out of it that it looks like an octopus, then you know it’s time to upgrade.
Surge protectors are worthy investments, because most power strips are often cheaply made and can overload your circuits, leading to fires and fire damage.
5. Upgrade with New Extension Cords: We all have extension cords in cabinets, drawers or in the garage. However, some of them may be quite old and not as functional as they once were. It's important to use extension cords that are durable and high quality.
If you have extension cords that are more than a few years old, you should replace them with new ones of durable quality. Frayed and mangled cords are unreliable; they can spark, go up in smoke and can lead to fire damage.
6. Smoke Outside: We know that smoking isn't good for us, and we're not here to sell you on quitting smoking. But if you are a smoker, do your best to smoke outside.
And keep yourself a slight distance from your property. Smoldering cigars and cigarettes can fall and start a fire regardless if you’re inside or outside.
Make sure you don't smoke while in bed. Many fires are started by individuals who fall asleep while smoking…do as much as you can to prevent this from happening.
7. Lightning: While lightning is natural occurrence, and something that we can't control, you can take certain preventative measures to keep your Austin home or business from being hit by lightning. This guide by the National Lightning Safety Institute offers some helpful ideas on how to lightning-proof your property.
8. Check Your Electrical Wiring: Like anything else, time takes its toll on electrical wiring within your home or business. It's important to have your electrical wiring checked regularly by an electrician to avoid electrical fires from occurring in your Austin property.
How Our Local SERVPRO Office Can Help in the Event of Fire Damage
If your Austin-based home or business has suffered from fire damage, it’s important to quickly repair and restore as much of your property as possible.
A fire can be devastating, and the additional damage from a fire can include smoke damage, water damage, mold and more. SERVPRO of East Central Austin will take every effort to remediate and restore your property after a fire. We’re here to help you evaluate the overall scope of your fire damage repairs and provide the proper equipment and expertise to ensure a smooth restoration process.
We’re a locally owned Austin company, and we care about the community that we serve. We recognize how overwhelmed you're likely to be after experiencing a fire. We have the resources to help guide you through this time, and our employees are trained and certified professionals, who have the experience and know-how to handle your fire damage repairs. If you’re in need of fire damage restoration, call our local Austin SERVPRO office today: 512-420-9886.